UC Prof Likens Harry Potter to Perceval, Arthurian Seeker of Knowledge

Kathryn Lorenz, a member of the faculty of the Romance Languages and Literatures Department at the University of Cincinnati, has been writing and talking about Harry Potter since 2001. She and a colleague, Heather Arden, began with a presentation at the International Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and have continued their studies ever since. Their work has been published in Arthuriana and the proceedings of a Conference for the Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery. Kathryn has also presented individual research at conferences in Leeds, England, and Honolulu, Hawaii.

Harry Potter can be seen as a modern teenager, but also, according to Professor Lorenz’s work, as a representation of different Arthurian characters. Harry is often compared to a young King Arthur, but Lorenz points more to his similarities with the medieval Arthurian figure of Perceval, the young seeker of knowledge. She is an avid reader of the Potter tales and has just completed a rereading of all the books and a re-viewing of all the films in order to be ready for book seven, the final one of the Harry Potter tales. Her research has also included various Web sites and volumes proposing possible ends to the tale. Although there has already been much speculation, with the appearance of the final book, avenues for research will include a summation of all that is Arthurian in the Rowling books and a study of Arthurian aspects of the finale of the story. She has begun preliminary work on a presentation at the 2008 International Medieval Congress and a contribution to an edited volume of scholarly notes and papers about the entire Harry Potter corpus.

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